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SXSW 2009 and RiP: a Remix Manifesto

“Keep Austin Weird” is the motto in Austin, Texas and the weird folks of Austin put on a good show during SXSW. Since 1994 when the festival added the music and interactive components, SXSW has been a meeting point for rockstars, geeks and all sorts of creative types. This year was the fifth year in a row for us. From what I understand about previous SXSW festivals, this year was par for the course with a lot of good people, great conversations and fun parties. First of all, it should be mentioned that there are two very different sides to SXSW. During the day, the conference is much like a mild-mannered marketing executive. Panels are attended; ideas are shared; insights are gained; hands are shaken; relationships are formed. While the sun is still up, SXSW appears to be much like any other conference. And the lineup of presenters were great this year. I was particularly interested in all of the presentations on the topic of mobile applications and location based social networks. More than just iPhone users having fun playing around with Foursquare, there was a real sense that mobile devices – the computers in our pockets – had the capacity to help people “do good” in the world and start to level out some of the inequalities of our digital divide. And it’s also exciting to see the internet moving away from our computer monitors as the ubiquitous web begins to enhance the way we live our daily lives and enrich our social interactions. There were just too many good presentations to mention here. Our own Robert Scales and Kris Krug participated in a great panel “doing business in china for fun and profit” that was very well recieved. There’s some great coverage you can check out here. And of course, each of the keynote speakers were great, but if I learned anything from SXSW, it’s that the real action takes place in the hallways between sessions. When you pack so many bright, creative and ambitious people into one building, the results are bound to be inspiring. But as I said, there are two sides to SXSW. When the sun goes down, the mild-mannered marketing execs transform into raging rockstars. Each night there were plenty of sponsored parties and the streets were full of conference attendees stumbling from one venue to the next. We were proud to be sponsoring the SXNW party for the fourth year...
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